CHILD DANCER AT PERPIGNON BRAZILIAN JAZZ DANCE WEEKENDER
In June 2014 I accompanied The Jazzcotech Dancers to Perpignan, where they performed, and co-hosted a party with Dejay\Promoter ‘Jeff The Fish’. The purpose of the dance party was to promote ’The Jazzcotech International Weekender’ that was to be launched the following August 2014. Our party took place within a designated open-air space at the Historic Casa Musicale within a much larger live music and Hip Hop Dance festival that was being held that weekend. The Casa Musicale is an ex-Napoleonic Fortress, Barracks and Ammo-Magazine, that fell out of service after being blown-up by The Nazis in WW2. Casa Muscale has in recent years been reborn as creative arts Hub for Dance, music and the performing arts with a proactive policy of funded engagement with the local community.
What this meant was that the Music Festival that weekend was open free to all, to encourage participation of the people of Perpignan and beyond. This made for a busy and superbly diverse party because of the Historic ethnic mix of Perpignan Peoples, as well as us visiting Londoners, plus International Hip-hop contingent. As well as Southern French, local communities include Catalans, North Africans and Residents of the Romany Gypsy Quarter who have been resident since mediaeval times. The party-demographic was wide in terms of family groups and age-range too. For me, all this fusion of energy and different cultures made an especially exciting event. Young Gypsy lads responded well on the dance floor to the Jazzfusion and Latin Jazz being played and danced to by Jazzcotech.
The excitement and atmosphere of the event comes across in the live drawing I made onsite, brought alive by the steamy and speedy marks I made on the paper, but also the diverse age-range as a small child takes the centre of the dance floor, and other children observe at the side. The arched architecture of the exterior courtyard is only hurriedly suggested as is the canvas awning above our heads in case of rain. But the weather was tropically warm, with a clear starlit sky. The main figure dancing on the right comes from the dancing of Perry Louis, Jazzcotech’s leader, whilst the female main figure on the right comes from Christiana Henecke who later bought the original drawing.There was something very special, Primeval and Spiritual about this unusual event that for me eclipsed the actual Weekender that was to follow.
Pastel and charcoal on Murrillo Paper. 65cm x 50cm.